8.8 C
New York

Motorcycle fundraiser from Aberdeen to Gibraltar in memory of man who died from prostate cancer | UK News


Four air traffic controllers are gearing up for an epic 3,225-mile motorcycle challenge in memory of a man who died from prostate cancer – with the fundraiser given a boost thanks to a James Bond stunt coordinator.

Wayne Clarke, who works at Aberdeen Airport, has organised the charity ride from Scotland to Gibraltar to raise awareness of the disease following the death of a good friend and colleague.

Mr Clarke told Sky News that Alan, 57, started to feel ill a few months after taking early retirement.

He was later diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer and died in May last year.

Mr Clarke helped to nurse Alan in his final weeks alongside his friend’s wife, sister-in-law and another colleague, and has been left “shaken” by the death.

He said: “It was an honour to do it, but it was not pleasant for anyone. It was awful for him, it was awful for the rest of us.”

In tribute to his friend, Mr Clarke decided to organise a cross-country fundraiser.

Pic: Wayne Clarke
The fundraisers with TV presenter Charley Boorman at the MCN London Motorcycle Show. Pic: Wayne Clarke

Mr Clarke said: “When he took ill, I asked him what was on his bucket list, and he said he’d never been on the back of a bike.

“So, I took him out around Rothiemurchus, up to the ski centre at Cairngorm, and he really enjoyed it.

“And it kind of flipped a switch for me that, you know, I couldn’t do anything for him but maybe I could do something for him in his memory.”

Pic: Wayne Clarke
The fundraisers with TV presenter Henry Cole at the MCN London Motorcycle Show. Pic: Wayne Clarke

Mr Clarke will be joined on the ride by fellow NATS workers Richard Fell, Shaun Bellairs-Wray and Harvey McVicar, who all work at Swanwick Centre in Hampshire.

The four friends will start their journey at Aberdeen Airport on 14 April and will visit every NATS airport control tower across the UK as well as the furthest away in Gibraltar.

The bikers are aiming to finish their ride back in the UK, at NATS’ corporate headquarters in Whiteley, Hampshire, on 30 April.

The four motorcyclists will ride from Aberdeen to Gibraltar and then finish their ride at NATS' corporate headquarters in Hampshire. Pic: Wayne Clarke
The men will begin their journey in Aberdeen on 14 April. Pic: Wayne Clarke

Mr Clarke, from Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, is most looking forward to arriving in Gibraltar, where the fundraisers will be met by friends.

He said: “That’s going to be the highlight, I think.”

Mr Clarke noted that some of the rides will be “long days”, including a 400-mile stretch on one day and a 700-mile journey between Bilbao and Gibraltar over two days.

He added: “The weather can also slow you down and make everything longer, so we’re expecting to get wet. But we’ve got really good kit.”

Triumph Motorcycles has loaned the four bikes the men will be riding on – all thanks to Mr Fell’s neighbour, stunt coordinator Lee Morrison.

Mr Morrison, who has worked with British actor Daniel Craig on all five of his James Bond films, was stunt coordinator on No Time To Die and was behind the epic motorbike jump during the Italian town action sequence.

Mr Morrison, who was also a previous stunt double for Craig, is a brand ambassador for Triumph Motorcycles and facilitated an introduction between the men and the company which led to the loan.

Pic: Wayne Clarke
James Bond stunt coordinator Lee Morrison projected in the background behind the fundraisers. Pic: Wayne Clarke

The fundraisers have also received support from British Superbike racing team OMG Racing, Ducati and Arai Helmet.

In addition, Brittany Ferries has waived the ferry costs to and from Spain.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

The charity fundraiser has so far collected more than £22,000 – with almost £17,000 raised for Prostate Cancer UK and more than £5,000 collected for Aerobility, which offers disabled people the opportunity to fly an aeroplane.

Mr Clarke said he can’t wait to visit all 24 airport control towers to help raise awareness of the two charities.

He thanked all those who have donated so far and has called for a national prostate cancer screening programme to be implemented to help save lives.

Pic: Wayne Clarke
Pic: Wayne Clarke

Read more from Sky News:
Kilt-wearing Scotsman to walk 1,000 miles to Germany for start of Euros
Scotland deaf football team launch fundraiser to get them to Euros

Mr Clarke said: “Prostate cancer is a silent killer. It’s a horrible, horrible thing to watch.

“Our (campaign) is not just aimed at people to go and get checked out. We’re also trying to raise awareness of the impact on families and the partners of those affected.

“We all love our mates, and we should tell them – because that’s the one thing I’ve taken away from this.

“I told my mate I loved him before he went. That’s what we need to start doing. We need to start looking after one another as well.”

Related articles

Recent articles